Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 is my “ministry life verse.” In this passage we find four very specific types of hands that every leader must have in order to be successful. We will take a look at each type of hand that should be applied to your ministry:
1) WILLING HANDS
Ecclesiastes 9:10 WHATSOEVER thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;
I found a perfect illustration of willing hands during the first youth camp that I directed. Sister Candice Graham-Thayer was scheduled to be a head councelor but I needed her to lead sanitation (The worst job on the campgrounds). I asked her if she would do it and she smiled and said yes. I was told several years later that she went to her dorm and cried because this was one of her lifelong dreams – to council at camp. However, she was willing to do what was asked of her. She adjusted to her new role and put a plan together. First, she recruited a team. Next, she made a list of all the supplies needed and went and purchased everything that was needed. I watched as her and her team came across the campground. They had taken a cart for their supplies and decorated it with balloons and streamers. All of the team members had hand-made t-shirts. They also had a team name. I had several people who were assigned to recreation and they came to me and asked if they could be switched to the sanitation team. Because Candice was willing to do anything that was asked of her, and did so well at her job, I asked her to be my camp secretary the next year. Due to her willing hands, she is now the secretary for the Michigan District Secretary of the UPCI. If you are willing to do the small things God will make you ruler over many (Matthew 25:23)!
2) INITIATIVE HANDS
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand FINDETH to do, do it with thy might;
I think there is a real misnomer in leadership that often gets overlooked. I honestly have not viewed very many people in my years of leadership when I asked them to do something that they flat out told me NO. They’ve always been willing to follow instructions and do what was asked of them. However, the challenge that I see is people having the initiative to see what needs to be done and getting their hands busy before being asked.
When I first became youth Pastor in Battle Creek, I would be working at the church with a group of young men and I would give them a task. I noticed they would go do what was asked of them and as soon as the task was completed, they would go straight to the auditorium and start playing on the instruments. I caught on quickly, so I told them when you accomplish this task come back to me and ask for your next assignment.
This was a smart group of guys, so they soon learned that what I asked them to do would always be harder than what they could come up with themselves. They began to take initiative, they would do everything that was asked of them, then they would look around and see “WHAT’S NEXT.” In leadership we must have a “WHAT’S NEXT” attitude.
3) ACTIVE HANDS
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, DO IT with thy might;
If you are going to be successful in leadership, at any level, you must be active. Proverbs 6:6-8 provides us with a great metaphor for action, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” John Maxwell summerizes the lessons the ant teaches us this way:
- A- Attitude of Initiative – Ants don’t need a commander to tell them to get started.
- N- Nature of Integrity – Ants work faithfully & need no outside accountability to keep them doing right.
- T- Thirst for Industry – Ants work hard and will replace their anthill when it gets ruined.
- S- Source of Insight – Ants store provisions in summer.
If we consider and learn from the ways of the ant, we can grow wise. (Excerpt from The Maxwell Leadership Bible).
4) PASSIONATE HANDS
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy MIGHT.
Recently, Austin McCool and I were working on some graphics together. He asked me where I get my graphics. I was showing him my favorite stills site and he said, “Oh, that is the graphic that you used for the children’s service that you did at our church a few years ago.” Actually, that is the graphic I had used in 2007! TAKEAWAY: Austin, now in college, remembered a graphic that I had used when he was in Jr. High School. Excellence matters! Graphics can seem insignificant to us, but it was a huge thing to him. The point is that our students are watching us. They do see the work that we put in each and every event. Your work impact students. When creating quality work, I keep in mind the Martin Luther King Jr. quote that says,
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Leadership takes balance. We must have our hands busy in the Kingdom of God. We must be willing to do anything that God asked of us. Secondly, we must be proactively looking for how we can serve, without being asked. Next, we must always be active. Leadership is a full contact sport. Finally, we must have passionate hands. Ministry is not a part-time job. God requires everything of us. We need all hands on deck! Whatever stage of leadership you are currently in, just jump in and get your hands dirty for the Kingdom of Christ!